Moving up the Michigan shoreline from Berrien County, we come to Van Buren County. Read on for much more about Michigan’s fruit basket!
History from Southwest Michigan Directory
The Pottawatomie Indians lived in the Van Buren area for many hundred of years until they were forced out by the white settlers. The first of these were Virginians Dolphin and Nancy Morris in 1829. A few years later, Dutch immigrant Peter Gremps moved to present-day Paw Paw and started the town. Friends and family followed, and much of the county was settled by Dutch Americans. In 1937, Van Buren officially became a county.
The county is named after the U.S. Secretary of State Martin Van Buren (who later went on to become Vice President and then President). It’s one of Michigan’s “Cabinet counties,” those named after President Andrew Jackson and his members of Cabinet. The county seat of Van Buren is Paw Paw, which derives its name from the pawpaw tree. The largest city in the county is South Haven, which started as a lumber town but became popular as a tourist destination for steam boats carrying travelers from Chicago and Milwaukee.
Van Buren Today
Van Buren is known as the fruit basket of Michigan. South Haven is the Blueberry Capital of the world, and the rest of the county produces apples, grapes, peaches, and tart cherries (check out this awesome Paw Paw barn on Michigan in Pictures and also this cool pic of the Van Buren County Courthouse by Marjorie O’Brien). Van Buren has many wineries, two of which are on the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail. The Lake Michigan shoreline of the county remains a popular tourist destination.
- Van Buren County links from Absolute Michigan – also see our South Haven, Paw Paw and Bangor pages!
- South Haven History at Michigan in Pictures
- Van Buren County Community Center
- South Haven Visitors Bureau
- The City of South Haven
- Greater South Haven Area Chamber of Commerce
- The Village of Paw Paw
- Wikipedia entry for Van Buren County
- History of Berrien and Van Buren counties, Michigan. With … biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers – eBook from Michigan County Histories at UM Library
- Van Buren County, Michigan photo map – from flickr
Things to do in Van Buren County
- Michigan Maritime Museum
- South Haven tag at Michigan in Pictures Be sure to check out the Van Buren State Park
- South Haven Pier Light
- Southwest Michigan Wine Trail
- Events including Hartford Strawberry Festival early June, The National Blueberry Festival early August, Paw Paw Wine & Harvest Festival early September and the Bangor Apple Festival mid October.